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Real Madrid ‘prefer’ to sell Kovačić, but not to Atlético — report

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No love lost between the Madrid clubs

Chelsea v Slavia Praha - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final : Second Leg Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

With the verdict on Chelsea’s transfer ban appeal not yet known, a certain midfielder’s short-term future is in limbo, of sorts.

Mateo Kovačić, who forced his way out from Real Madrid last summer in search of more game-time and has no desire to return, is continuing to explore his options for next season. Chelsea would be his preference — and Sarri would prefer the arrangement to continue as well — but Zenit St. Petersburg were also rumored to be interested, with Tottenham Hotspur and Atlético Madrid recently joining the queue as well.

However, the latter are one club that Kovačić will not be joining anytime soon, unless Real Madrid’s local enemies rivals, Atlético Madrid, would be willing to pay Kovačić’s gargantuan €300m release clause. Atlético may be looking at a minor rebuild of their own, but it’s safe to say that won’t include Kovačić.

So what of the 24-year-old’s future then?

Kovačić has repeatedly spoken of his desire to stay at Chelsea, and while we can’t make any immediate moves, we should be hearing back from FIFA soon about the transfer ban appeal, which should enable the club to take the next step in the process and be able to to do business as usual in the summer.

That being said, Mateo’s potential role and price will also play a key role in determining his future at Chelsea. Ruben Loftus-Cheek seems to be ahead at the moment for the LCM spot, and Jorginho is omnipresent at his Sarri-ball regista role. Real Madrid would surely want to earn a profit on the €30m they paid for him, with €50m being mentioned in rumors. This deal would only make sense for Chelsea if the price wasn’t exorbitantly high — although a ‘discount’ could possibly be negotiated when if Eden Hazard transfers to Real Madrid.

One thing seems certain though: we won’t be seeing Mateo Kovačić in Madrid anytime soon, in either white or red.